Electricity Demand Globally is Rising Faster than its Population

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Electricity consumption worldwide continues to rise faster than the world population. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average amount of electricity consumed per person (per capita electricity consumption) is increasing.

The EIA’s International Energy Statistics highlighted, over the past decade and a half, that most of the increase in global electricity consumption is due to an increase in electricity usage in developing economies. However, consumption has decreased in the past decade in some major mature economies.

The key talking points of fossil fuel companies emphasise access to electricity for billions of people in developing economies and a continuously growing demand for electricity in those economies. The companies highlighted that the world would continue to need oil and gas for decades to come.

The EIA stated in the United States, total electricity consumption has risen since the early 2000s. However, a fall by almost 7% was observed between 2000 and 2017. The decline was attributed to higher energy efficiency and changes in the economy that led to less electricity use per unit of economic output.

According to the EIA, to compare the developed economies with the developed nations, per capita electricity growth in the economies of less developed countries more than doubled between 2000 and 2017, as opposed to a nearly flat trend in the economies of more developed nations.

However, the world’s electricity demand is set to drop this year due to the COVID-19 scenario, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its Global Energy Review 2020 in April.

The IEA stated that demand was down due to the lockdowns in many countries. The lockdowns affected the power mix, with renewables taking a larger share because renewables output is largely unaffected by demand. Conversely, demand for all other sources of electricity – including coal, gas, and nuclear power – dropped in Q1 2020.

The IEA also highlighted that global electricity demand is set to drop by 5% this year, while some regions could see a decrease of around 10%.

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